Heather Smith
My very best friend in the whole wide world, Lisa, gave me a spa day gift certificate for my fortieth birthday. The plan is for us to go together. But I, um, lost the certificate.

In my hunt for it, however, I came across something else 'Lisa' related. A handwritten note from Douglas Coupland. Here's the story:

It started way back in 2002 during a visit with Lisa. The following letter, written to Douglas Coupland that very evening, explains it all:

Dear Mr. Coupland,

I wanted to tell you how I ruined my friend’s autographed copy of Life After God, a book that she has kept in pristine condition for 8 years, and a book that, after only 1 hour in my possession, is now not as it was. I went to Lisa's house and we had a great visit sitting around drinking coffee and talking about books as our children played together. She recommended that I read Life After God. She said it was a good read that both my husband and I would enjoy. She showed me the inside cover which you had signed. The inscription, (which you had written within the outline of your hand) said:

To Lisa, Thanks for helping me hold up that 7-Eleven. Doug. 3-18-94”.

We had a good laugh over the inscription. I then placed the book inside my canvas bag along with all of the other things I have to tote around in a day: diapers, toys and, regretfully, my kids ”supposedly” spill proof cups. You know where I am going with this, don’t you? Yes, little did I know, that on my drive from London to Waterloo, one of these cups was leaking onto the book, smearing the inscription.

Shortly after I got home I decided to take the book out and have a look. When I opened it and saw the damage my heart sank. I called my friend to tell her what had happened and apologized profusely. “It’s ok. Don’t worry about it,” she said. To which I replied, ”Don’t ever lend me anything else again. I can’t be trusted.” Lisa laughed. “Really. Don’t worry.”

Still, I worry. I want to right this wrong. I know it is a long shot but I would love to have that inscription re-written on a piece of paper so that I can place it inside the book, next to the smeared one. I wonder if it is possible for you to do this. It would be a great help. I would again be able to live guilt-free!!
Thank you.

Heather Smith

PS I am sincerely hoping that you do not receive another letter that starts: “Dear Mr. Coupland, I wanted to tell you how I loaned my copy of Life After God to an irresponsible friend….”

I didn’t tell Lisa that I wrote this letter, as I wanted to surprise her with a new inscription when returning the book. I wasn’t sure if I would receive a letter in response from Douglas Coupland but I was hopeful. And then one day a letter appeared in the mail. When I saw “Coupland” on the return address I was ecstatic! Inside was one of the nicest, most touching, handwritten note cards I have ever received. The top half of the card, for me, said:

To Heather, you are a kind and thoughtful friend and the world needs more of you. Best wishes, Doug. ”

The second half of the card, for me to place in Lisa’s book upon return, said:

“To Lisa, who has a good friend in both Heather Smith and Douglas Coupland.”

I was glad to came across Dougie's personal note to me. It was nice reminder that people with a certain amount of celebrity are not always as untouchable as one might think, that they are real people, and that some of them do, indeed, care about the people who feed their success.

Douglas Coupland said I was kind. And thoughtful. I think I love him.

It took me a couple of more days to find the spa certificate but, eventually, I did. On Saturday I will be pampered like a queen, another experience shared with Lisa, another memory in the makings. I just hope I don't spill a bottle of nail polish over her or something while we're there.
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7 Responses
  1. CLB Says:

    You lost the certificate! Why is it Lisa is still your friend?

  2. I also lost Life After God for a while before returning it to her ... not sure if she knows that. She accepts my disorganized nature.

  3. Lisa TS Says:

    OK, I am just recovering for the HEART ATTACK I had when I read you lost the gift certificate. Douglas Copeland rocks. It feels like he is the third person in our relationship. You're the greatest friend I've ever had and your disorganized nature is endearing, if not entertaining to me. As long as I don't get hot wax spilled on me, the day will be terrific!

  4. What are we getting waxed? haha

  5. Lisa TS Says:

    Hopefully nothing!
    I am so embarrassed, I spelled dear Douglas' name wrong. I blame it on the heart attack and my unrequited love for Stewart Copeland and The Police.

  6. CLB Says:

    Enjoy your Brazilians girls!

  7. Aunt Nancis Says:

    Is this the same Douglas Coupland I spent the day at Chapters for even though I had never heard of him all in the name of getting Rob an autographed book??? He's possibly the strangest person I've ever heard speak in public! But it's nice to know that even someone I thought for sure came to this planet via the mothership can recognise the closeness of friends. They rock. YAY for Lisa and YAY for Janice (my own personal BFF - celebrating 30 years)!

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